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The right pay

Salary negotiation techniques for the independent professional

by Global Expert Systems

Convert your true value into cash

Many independent professionals in the Caribbean will invariably service the community of small and micro-business enterprises. Very often, this sector operates with very narrow profit margins and does not enjoy the healthiest of cash flows. So how do you get paid? We have a number of suggestions.

There are many companies that need the services of independents but they are stuck because, often times, they believe that they cannot afford you. This is where you have the opportunity to make them an offer based on true value.

1. Get paid out of savings. If you can demonstrate that your project or service can save the company money, then negotiate a percentage of those savings as your salary.

2. Get paid by bringing in new business. Everyone is in business to grow and make money. Use your skills to help your clients bring in new business. Then you can negotiate a percentage of the new business. We typically recommend a negotiation of three or four to one. In other words, for you to receive one dollar in salary, you will need to bring in at least three or four dollars to the company.

3. Offer your brand, product or service under a company. Perhaps you’ve developed a new technique or service and there’s an opportunity for you to partner with a company that already has an established brand to help you sell it. This is a win-win situation.

4. If you are in a salaried position, try negotiating value by asking the company to cover things like your gym expenses, car note, travel, etc. and have them pay it directly.

Don’t negotiate dollars and cents, negotiate lifestyle!

A lot of independent professionals commit the cardinal error of pricing themselves out of the market. They ignore market conditions and base their salary negotiation on other externalities. At GES we find that when you negotiate a lifestyle that potential employers are more willing to listen.

For example, when you say “cover my rent/mortgage, transport, food, entertainment and savings”, it has a totally different spin than just giving a straight number. Using this technique, you are basically presenting a lifestyle that you are used to and that you’d like to maintain and most employers respond fairly to this.

This Visa black card commercial may be a way over the top but it gets the point across about lifestyle.

Share the risk

Finally our best advice is to offer your services for free. Here’s the line: “You don’t need to pay me, I’ll get paid if you get paid.” This is the best way to sell your services as an independent. If you truly believe that you can convert what you are offering into cash, then you will definitely get paid.

Next week we will look at “The growing demand for independent professionals”. We will show you some areas of opportunity where you can offer your services and convert your value into cash.

* For access to the entire series of GES articles in pdf. feel free to download them from

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